Eli is traveling west, across the United States. He is armed to the teeth, hunting for food and killing those who threaten his life. He carries a book around with him, one of the few left. Thirty winters ago, a nuclear war turned the world into a barren landscape.
One day he arrives to a fledgling town ruled by a man named Carnegie. He gets in a fight with some of Carnegie's men and wins. Carnegie encourages the traveler to spend the night in his town. That night he sends one of his servants Solara to keep Eli company. She discovers his book and begs him to read her some passages. It turns out the book in question is a Bible, the last one known to exist.
The next day Solara is forced by Carnegie to tell him about the time she spent with Eli. When he discovers that Eli has a Bible, he decides use it for himself as a way to control the townsfolk. Eli, however, manages to kill nearly all of Carnegie's men and even injures Carnegie.
He leaves the town, heading west, with Solara joining him. On the road, the two bond as Eli tells the young girl stories about the world before the war and recites to her passages from the Scripture. He reveals to her his mission: to take the book westward, where a voice told him it would be safe.
They reach a house occupied by an elderly couple who turn out to be cannibals. Carnegie's men track Eli and Solara to the house. In the ensuing shootout Solara is captured and Eli hands over the book in exchange for her life. Carnegie takes the book and Solara, and shoots Eli, leaving him for dead. Solara manages to escape and returns to Eli, who bandages himself.
The two continue their journey, eventually reaching Alcatraz. There, they are welcomed by Lombardi, a man who has been collecting and storing the remains of civilization. It is revealed that Eli is blind and the Bible he was carrying is written in Braille. He then proceeds to recite the Bible to Lombardi word for word, allowing him to make new copies.
Eli completes his mission, but dies from his wounds. The grieving Solara takes his belongings and leaves, taking to the open road.
Best part of story, including ending:
I felt the movie was heavy-handed in its religious themes. The action sequences were visually impressive and the desaturated look is a good fit.
Best scene in story:
The fight scene between Eli and a group of bandits. It takes place in the shade under a bridge, and is really well done, with the camera standing still and the choreography forming a sort of shadowy ballet of knives, chainsaws and limbs.
Opinion about the main character:
Eli is very badass but I wish his character and intentions were developed more and not just resumed to a mystic calling.